Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Montana to Michigan

Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Montana to Michigan

Reply

Old 03-19-08, 08:05 AM
  #1  
gce
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 30
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Montana to Michigan

Hey guys, I've been contemplating my first tour and have been considering Montana to Michigan. What should I expect in terms of weather and terrain if I leave in early to mid June? I have a decent amount to train/prepare, what sort of goals and mileage should I be shooting for? How much money/time will this take if I'm riding fairly average distances. I'm 23 years old and should be in decent enough shape by June.
gce is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-08, 08:12 AM
  #2  
Roughstuff
Punk Rock Lives
 
Roughstuff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: In a cabin in the adirondacks
Posts: 3,165

Bikes: Fuji touring

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 48 Post(s)
Originally Posted by gce View Post
Hey guys, I've been contemplating my first tour and have been considering Montana to Michigan. What should I expect in terms of weather and terrain if I leave in early to mid June? I have a decent amount to train/prepare, what sort of goals and mileage should I be shooting for? How much money/time will this take if I'm riding fairly average distances. I'm 23 years old and should be in decent enough shape by June.


Weather: usually dry and windy in Montana, the Dakotas. As you get closer to the great lakes you will start picking up moisture and have more rainfall. I went this way on X-country tour a few years ago. I went thru north Dakota not too far from the Canadian border---I wanted to make sure i saw the Turtle mountains , and was pleasantly surprised by them. It can be very open and sere countryside, but I didn't find it boring at all. The stars at night are remarkable.

The forests and green returns as you enter Minnesota. Try and see the Minnesota/Wisconsin dells if you can. The northern peninsula of Michigan, of course, is spectacular as well.

You will leave the mountains behind in central montana, though there still are alot of biggish hills in the eastern part of the state. This is Lewis and Clark country, there are alot of nice routes to take. I used my typical daily distance of 50 miles. You could probably do more.

You will be able to wild camp in about 99% of the places, so your budget should be happy.

roughstuff
Roughstuff is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-08, 08:27 AM
  #3  
gce
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 30
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Awesome, thanks for the info. Yea, I was planning on stealth camping for most of the time. But I was also thinking that for the most part, I would just stop by houses on the way and just ask if I could set up a tent in their backyard. I feel like most people would go for some thing like that.
gce is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-08, 09:02 AM
  #4  
valygrl
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 8,546
Mentioned: 83 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 163 Post(s)
What made you choose that route?
valygrl is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-08, 09:13 AM
  #5  
gce
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 30
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I am currently living in Montana and I've been thinking about moving back to Michigan. I don't really have a lot of stuff right now so I can probably ship everything I own for pretty cheap.
gce is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-08, 10:25 AM
  #6  
Roughstuff
Punk Rock Lives
 
Roughstuff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: In a cabin in the adirondacks
Posts: 3,165

Bikes: Fuji touring

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 48 Post(s)
Originally Posted by gce View Post
Awesome, thanks for the info. Yea, I was planning on stealth camping for most of the time. But I was also thinking that for the most part, I would just stop by houses on the way and just ask if I could set up a tent in their backyard. I feel like most people would go for some thing like that.


I rarely 'stealth' camp, in the sense of 'hiding out where no one can see me because I am on private property.' I 'wild camp,' which i define as any campsite that I can get for free. Farmers fields are great; wooded areas that are part of state parks are great; churchyards; behind fire stations, etc. Town parks can be ok if you have some privacy and its not a weekend. Roadside rest areas are ok, assuming ya don't mind the occasional pervert.

Just be a bit careful that some 'abandoned buildings' might be meth labs. Crystal Meth is the scourge of america's rural areas.


roughstuff
Roughstuff is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-08, 12:39 PM
  #7  
DougG
Road Runner
 
DougG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Rochester Hills, MI
Posts: 1,193

Bikes: 2017 Felt VR5, 2012 Specialized Crosstrail

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 70 Post(s)
I did this trip about 10 years ago by motorcycle, and still have vivid memories of it. I came straight across US-2 all the way from Montana to the Mackinaw Bridge. Since I live in Michigan, the most pleasant part of the trip was the "welcome home" feeling I got shortly after crossing into Minnesota, when I found myself back in a cool, fragrant pine forest. I'm not going to imply that North Dakota is monotonous, but...

I was motelling it all the way on my trip, but I'd like to recommend Lake Itasca State Park in Minnesota. I stayed in a cabin near the lodge there, but they also have campgrounds. Lake Itasca is the official source of the Mississippi River, and there's a place where you can "wade across the Mississippi" and hardly get your feet wet.
DougG is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-08, 01:45 PM
  #8  
Machka 
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 51,164

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 118 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2750 Post(s)
Originally Posted by gce View Post
I am currently living in Montana and I've been thinking about moving back to Michigan. I don't really have a lot of stuff right now so I can probably ship everything I own for pretty cheap.
That would probably be the only reason I'd want to do a route like that ... relatively flat, treeless, boring, windy, risk of heavy thunderstorms, boring ...

It would be challenging to stealth camp in some parts of that in terms of hiding from view! There's not much in the way of trees, bushes, shrubbery, plant-life.
Machka is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-08, 04:24 PM
  #9  
Roughstuff
Punk Rock Lives
 
Roughstuff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: In a cabin in the adirondacks
Posts: 3,165

Bikes: Fuji touring

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 48 Post(s)
Originally Posted by DougG View Post
I did this trip about 10 years ago by motorcycle,......
I was motelling it all the way on my trip, but I'd like to recommend Lake Itasca State Park in Minnesota. I stayed in a cabin near the lodge there, but they also have campgrounds. Lake Itasca is the official source of the Mississippi River, and there's a place where you can "wade across the Mississippi" and hardly get your feet wet.


Motorcycle...yummy. Definitely recommend Itasca. On my northern tier across the USA I went to the source of the Missouri (north of Yellowstone); the Mississippi (Itasca) and the Ohio River system (central northern Pennsylvania.

There is enough scruff and bluffs to make camping Ok in most of Montana and the Dakotas.

roughstuff
Roughstuff is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-08, 04:36 PM
  #10  
gce
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 30
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
if you could take a train ride out of nw montana and start from a different place (with MI still being the destination), where would you recommend?
gce is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-08, 04:39 PM
  #11  
Machka 
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 51,164

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 118 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2750 Post(s)
Originally Posted by gce View Post
if you could take a train ride out of nw montana and start from a different place (with MI still being the destination), where would you recommend?
Can you take a train ride out of NW Montana? And if so, what are your options for stopping and being able to collect your luggage (your bicycle)? That would be your limitation there. Look up the Amtrak site, but be sure to look only at the stops which have full bagage service, otherwise you will not be able to put your bicycle on the train and/or get it off again.

You could ride from NW Montana ... just know that the scenery won't be as striking as NW Montana.
Machka is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-08, 05:40 PM
  #12  
krankyrev
Newbie
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 4
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
done that

I did this trip as part of my cross-country ride a few years ago. The pertinent part was from Missoula through to Sault Ste Marie.

I ended up mainly taking the ACA's Lewis & Clark Route from Great Falls to the middle of North Dakota, while kindof making up my own route. Central & Eastern Montana were my favorite places on the tour. Very stark, few people, but really beautiful, and not really flat for the most part. I would avoid the US-2, because it seems pretty boring and straight, and they were doing a ton of roadwork. And it might be harder to find stealth camping, since it's the major east-west fwy around. If you have headwinds, it also could suck.

North Dakota was also pretty cool, but windier, and the roads were not quite as good.

In Montana and North Dakota, Minnesota, you can stay in the town green usually with no trouble. Some towns even have municipal camp-sites, for cheap. I usually found out about these by asking someone where a good place to camp was, and they either told me the best park, or where the campsite was. Especially if there is a fishing lake, like in Hill City.

I definitely recommend the Itasca Park. I stayed with friends 15 miles away, but the headwaters park is excellent.

I was able to make it through Minnesota without a front derailleur, so it wasn't too hilly.

Have fun!
krankyrev is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-08, 06:20 PM
  #13  
timmreck
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 14
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
This stuff is good to know, since i'll be taking a similar trip in early june.... i'll just be going in the opposite direction! Minneapolis to Missoula. I'm especially interested in hearing about routes in ND and MT. does the Adventure cycling northern tier route follow hwy 2? I also noticed that on the Lewis and Clark route, the distance from Great Falls to Missoula is roughly equal to the distance between Williston, ND and Great Falls. Is there another way to MIssoula from Great Falls? Are there just too many mountains in the way?

I also recommend Itasca state park. If you happen to get a hankerin' for a warm shower, to cook on a real stove, or for meeting some other people, there's a really nice hostel in the park. I stayed there this winter and it was really, really great. Summer might be different too though, since it'll be WAY busier. but oh, what a beautiful place. And having grown up always within 10 miles from the river, (and currently living about 7 blocks away) it was really warming to see where it 'begins.'
timmreck is offline  
Reply With Quote

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service